Many people are making New Year’s resolutions today―putting their intentions down on paper or making declarations of new vows about changes they want to see in their lives during the coming year. By what standard do you make New Year’s resolutions? By what criteria do you plan your life?
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced this issue. He is our role model. We can look at His life and ask, “How did Jesus make a decision about His future?”
First, Jesus approached His future by going to prayer. He talked to God about it. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that He went to the Garden of Gethsemane with the express purpose of prayer. Now, this wasn’t just a five-minutes-on-His-knees prayer. Jesus expected to pray until He had God’s answer… no matter how long it took. He anticipated a “season” of prayer.
Second, as Jesus prayed about His future, He was completely honest with God. He admitted what was in His heart. He said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful” (Matthew 26:38).
Third, Jesus expressed His own desires as a human being to God. Although He was fully divine as the Son of God, Jesus was also fully human, as the son of Mary. He prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” ― the “cup” being His death on the Cross for our sins. At the same time, He said, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).
Fourth, Jesus stayed on His knees until He heard God’s will. For three hours, He prayed with such intensity that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Jesus wasn’t about to act unless He had the full assurance that He was acting in God’s will.
Fifth, Jesus accepted God’s will for His life. It wasn’t what He desired. It wasn’t easy. But, Jesus concluded His prayer, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42).
The best way I know to begin the New Year is to begin with prayer that we might know, and then have the courage to do, God’s will for our lives. Will you join me in prayer today? Heavenly Father, we come to You today asking that Your will be done in our lives. Show us Your will. Help us to know what it is that You would have each one of us do, and say, and be, during this coming year. Give us the courage by the power of Your Holy Spirit to do Your will and to accomplish all You have set before us to do. I pray this in the mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.